Thursday, 23 February 2017

Book Spotlight: The Magnum Opus

Today I have a delight treat with the spotlight on the fantasy novel, The Magnum Opus by Christopher and Christine Kezelos. This novel is a continuation of an award-winning short animation film called The Maker, so in this book's case the film came before the novel. Enjoy.


The Magnum Opus by Christopher and Christine Kezelos





In a time and world long ago forgotten, there existed an enchanted workshop. Within its walls, a magical creature called a Maker busily created the next of his kin. Upon completion, the creator was whisked away to join the rest of the Maker community. Meanwhile, their progeny was left alone to create the next Maker in a never-ending cycle of creation. 

That was, until the day an offbeat Maker named Ario was unable to complete The Making and broke their sacred chain of existence. Wracked with guilt, Ario embarked on a quest to right his wrong, but what he discovered was far more monstrous and miraculous than anyone ever imagined.







The Magnum Opus is available on Amazon




Book Trailer






About the Authors:


Christopher and Christine Kezelos are a husband and wife filmmaking duo based in California, USA. Their shorts Zero and The Maker received 37 awards on the international film festival circuit and have been viewed over 20 million times online. The Magnum Opus is inspired by The Maker and is their first foray into long-form storytelling.

You can watch their films at zealouscreative.com.


Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Drabble Wednesday: Revelations

After an absence last week due to illness, Drabble Wednesday returns with something different.  Three tales, three worlds, one story...





Exiled

I am banished from the safety of the village on the wail of a funeral dirge. A song for the walking dead, to cast their way across the scorched earth and endless night outside our walls. I hear the last notes muffled by the clang of the gates as they close behind me.
I am now outcast. A wanderer in the shadow of death.
I resist the urge to turn and beg for my life. They will not listen. So I walk across the eternal desert into the perpetual black night.
Only to find...
A door. And another world beyond.

~*~




Automation

Dim artificial light and a faint electronic hum filled empty metal corridors. Quiet, still, the space station functioned with precision and efficiency. Its only life on the upper ring, the ever present sentience of its AI. On the lower rings however...
Movement on corridor D, Block A. Another detainee ready for release.
The disembodied voice triggered an automated program and a door slid open. A human figure hesitantly stepped on to the station from a virtual simulation cell.
Hello, prisoner 4589. Your sentence aboard internment station Delta 9 has been served. You will now be reprocessed back into Earth society.

~*~



Home

I still remember that day in my dreams. The steel walls, a sickly sweet smell, harsh lights, walking up on the table after they restored my memories.
My release day. Before they sent me home.
Back to Earth.
I am still an exile. I miss the lie of their prison.
They said I served my sentence.
They were wrong.
Earth is the true prison. With its grey conformity, it’s lack of independent thought.
They think simulated hardship will cure our radical beliefs. It only makes them stronger.
I join another protest group tonight. I will reoffend.
I will go home.





© A. F. Stewart 2017 All Rights Reserved



Monday, 20 February 2017

WiHM Blog Talks: Roh Morgan And Her Weapons of Choice



Today, I am pleased to be playing host for Women in Horror Month Blog Talks, organized by author W. J. Howard, where female writers discuss different aspects of horror. My guest today is author Roh Morgan and her topic is...


 Weapons of Choice



Roh Morgon writes fantasy and horror for middle grade, young adult, and adult readers. She’s best known for her vampire series that begins with Watcher: Book I of The Chosen.


When I first read the topic for today’s post – Choice of Weapons – my initial thoughts were of the fangs and claws wielded by the creatures in Watcher: Book I of The Chosen and my other stories in the series.

I mean, what could be more primal than tearing the throat from an enemy — or a victim — using the deadly tips of one’s own fingers? The sweeping slash, the parting skin, the spray of blood arcing in a crimson fountain to paint the air itself. Or perhaps a rapier-like thrust to bury five daggers deep, then the squeeze to crush the airway as its gore pulses down.

Even more intimate would be the fatal kiss of one’s own lips as they part, allowing lethal fangs to sink into hot flesh coursing with life itself. The taking of that life swallow by swallow while twisting love’s caress into a battle with death and the eternal dance of predator and prey.

How could the wielder of a chainsaw or a bullet or even a blade experience anything remotely like killing something with the weapons nature bestowed upon you? They won’t feel the life pumping across their skin or down their throats or into their souls. Their satisfaction is like that of a one-hit bong compared to mainline heroin, weak, without substance, without that all-encompassing ‘ahh’ of being sated down to your very core.

But then I thought about an even deadlier weapon than those above – the weapon of words.

Words can rip the heart apart, can wound beyond repair, can crush the very soul of their target when they are employed with skill and precision. They can cripple a lover and condemn them to a life of living hell, or worse, drive that lover into death’s welcoming embrace.

Make no mistake. Words are the deadliest weapon in any arsenal. Be sure to use them wisely.


Giveaway: Anyone who adds a comment of at least three words to my post will receive a free digital copy of my latest book, The Games Monsters Play in the format of their choice (.mobi, .epub, or .pdf).



I'd like to thank Roh Morgan for joining us today.

You can find more about her writing and books at these sites:




Thursday, 16 February 2017

Book Spotlight: Anarchy - Strange Tales of Outsiders

Today I have a horror spotlight for the short story collection Anarchy - Strange Tales of Outsiders by David Sharp. Enjoy.


Anarchy - Strange Tales of Outsiders by David Sharp

Anarchy - Strange Tales of Outsiders is a compendium of stories following queer, punk, outsiders in worlds of chaos crossing genres of queer fiction, horror, and dark fantasy. Experience The Carny Cage, a prison story, with Dirk, whose life is like the carnival ride The Zipper locked up and spinning out of control. Follow Dean on his journey, Where the Road Roams, to find his brother and piece together the past in a fragmented and cut-up tale. Break taboos with a mysterious hitcher in, The Deadfall, as he takes a ride with a van full of coeds into the wilderness where they descend into terror beyond the limits. Witness the Death Tarp. Daniel goes beyond death to return as his shroud, a panel of the AIDS quilt, in a supernatural tale of disease and revenge. Invoke the Dark with a goth youth and his companions as he opens the gates of hell with dark rites. Discover the secret of Under the Moonbow through intense therapy sessions as Maleki, tattooed with the story of his past, schemes to be free of Ponoko Asylum and the covenant with his captor, Dr. West. All of this and more await you inside Anarchy.


Anarchy - Strange Tales of Outsiders is available on Amazon



Excerpt from the short story “Dark" included in Anarchy


Surely this was a sign, enough of its own.
The third pine was away in the distance, but the triangle shape it formed with the others was there as powerful as the pyramids. The church sat quietly behind him watching something older than the Christian rites held inside unfold on its doorstep. The dark blue sky called out, stars seemed bright, and small wispy clouds sleekly flew by the full solemn moon. The craters and crevices were more visible than ever like they were magnified. Damon looked at his hands. He was still a boy, but the change into a man had begun.
This is it…all that is past will be forgotten. I will have a clean slate. I will do right by you this time.
Placing his hands together in a kneeling position, he closed his eyes to his shame. Darkness engulfed. Thoughts floated to the surface trying to distract with trivial worries.
No…no…got to remain clear.
A deep breath went out of him.
This is the time.
Damon cracked his neck and started counting.
One…
A tingling sensation traveled from the solid earth into his lower body.
Two…
A head rush hit him more so than the first time he got high or even huffed Freon.
Three…
Fear rose.
Is someone watching? Was that a light of a car…a police car?
Four…
Fighting panic he willed it away.
Five…
Sexual confusion came in waves of sex and shame intertwined.
Six…
The wind chilled him forcibly blowing his hair and clothes.
Seven…
The cross vibrated in his palm that clasped it almost burning, but that is impossible. Damon opened his eyes and the world was — different. Space unfolded in clarity. He was uncertain if it was really changed or if he was actually seeing it without distraction. A shooting star sparked across the deep blue sky with other shades and swirls above.
Surely this is a sign.
Damon rose meeting the wind. In the moment, he pulled the cross free from his neck to push it to the bleeding bark of the stricken pine. Sap flowed freely and thick to hold the cross firm in its grasp. In amazement, he watched as his grandmother’s heirloom was covered.
No going back — it is done. Are the demons really gone?
Damon took a tentative step forward not wanting to leave the site of a possible miracle without more concrete proof. Proud, but tinged with slight doubt haunting the back of his mind, he walked away not daring to look back lest it find him again. Another star shot across the heavens as the wind gusted.
This is really it?
Resigned yet uncertain, Damon sighed softly and spoke in a whisper, “There is always the next time…”
Damon walked the lonely path home. The solitary, haunting sound of a far away train followed him back into the dark to wait some more.





Author Bio:

David Sharp is a writer of creative fiction. A dreamer, he grew up identifying with the outsider from his teenage punk years on. His stories are filled with characters on the fringe of society, from troubled youth and thrill seekers to hardened gunslingers and mysterious loners. Each one is on a journey to find themselves and pursue their desires across exciting and sometimes dangerous landscapes. A Texan by birth, he currently lives in Chicago with his partner Bo. 

Anarchy - Strange Tales of Outsiders is his first self-published book now that he has the rights to his past works. He is an affiliate member of the Horror Writer’s Association and you can follow him at davidsharpwriter.com and FB @Writer.DavidSharp.

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

The Bloody Valentine Horror Event: Wedding Day

It's that time of year again, the time to embrace the bad side of love: the rejected lovers, the spurned spouses, and the generally lovelorn. It is a celebration of everything anti-valentine and down with romance. It's time for...

The Bloody Valentine Horror Event!




This is my annual Facebook/Blog Event for everything anti-valentine. This is an open posting extravaganza so anyone can join in on the macabre fun. And today's blog portion is a horror tale of the wedding from Hell...




Wedding Day


Noah remembered the nightmare. The stone room. The monstrous creatures.
The pain.
He remembered screaming.
And now... the soft comfort of his bed.
I’m awake. I’m awake. It’s over.
He lay in his bed, his heart racing, and stared at his bedroom ceiling. He counted the grooves in the cornices and the decorative plaster roses until his breathing eased and the fright subsided. Then he turned his head, and glanced at the window; slivers of the morning sun crept past the half-open drapes. His new wedding attire hung carefully on a rack beside the casement. Ready. Waiting.
I’m getting married today.
He smiled. Becky.
He sat upright, and then climbed out of bed. As his feet touched the ornate rug, pain stabbed into his back and he tumbled to the floor. Agony sliced through his body and he shrieked, his eyes shutting tight. His body spasmed, and then curled into a ball. He felt a cold hand stroking his cheek, and Becky’s voice whispered, “Don’t fight it. Let the pain take you. Let go...”
The words chased him into oblivion.

Noah heard voices.
“Get him up. It’s time.”
“He’s ready?”
“He’s been prepared. Anymore and he might die.”
“You’re right. These humans are so fragile.”
Humans? Who’s talking? What’s happening to me?
Noah didn’t want to open his eyes, but he did.
Fangs, horns and red eyes stared at him. Clawed hands held his limp body upright. His noticed his shirt was missing, and his skin... what he could see of his body was covered in arcane tattoos.
What have they done to me!  
Noah screamed. He thrashed in the strong grip of his captors.
“Hold him still! Pin his arms! We need to deliver him on time!”
Noah fought, but he had no strength. He could not prevent them from dragging him from his cell.
“Please let me wake up,” he mumbled as unconscious darkness claimed him.

Noah heard music. He opened his eyes.
He stood in front of an altar in his wedding suit. Becky walked down the aisle towards him.
It was just a nightmare. I’m getting married. To my sweet, adoring Becky.
He smiled as his bride stopped in front of him. She lifted her hand and stroked his cheek. He couldn’t stop staring at her.
Noah heard a voice say, “Do you take this female to be your wedded wife?”
“I do.” he replied.
“And do you take this male human to be your wedded husband?”
“I do.”
Noah’s heart raced.
“Then I pronounce you bonded in unholy matrimony! One in blood and in fire for eternity!”
Wait that’s not right. Why would he say that? Noah’s hands trembled, his body shook.
Becky stroked his cheek once more. “Shut your eyes, Noah. And remember.”
Noah dutifully closed his eyes.
Pain shuddered through his body.
Becky’s voice commanded, “Open your eyes, Noah!
His eyelids snapped open. The church, the music, the beautiful wedding, disappeared. Replaced by him tied spread-eagled to iron spikes, encircled by fire and monsters.
But Becky, his beautiful Becky, still stood in front of him.
Still dressed in her wedding... the light shifted, her face changed. Became— Noah gasped.
No, no! That’s not Becky! Red skin, horns, fangs... That thing can’t be... but it has her eyes, her beautiful green eyes.
You can’t be Becky!”
“Oh, but I am. The very one you fell in love with. And married, only moments ago.” The thing that was Becky stepped closer, and stroked his cheek, her claws scratching his skin. “But it is nice to finally show you my true self.” She smiled, her rows of razor-sharp teeth glistening in the firelight. “Hello, husband. Time to kiss the bride.” Noah nearly gagged as she kissed him, her forked tongue flicking down his throat. As she withdrew, the same tongue licked across his lips. Noah shuddered. “No, no, it can’t be.” The whisper resonated in the air, like a mocking chuckle. “We were—this isn’t—the church—our wedding...”
“Sorry, love. All illusions conjured by your mind. You’ve been here for months, my dear."
“Here?”
“Hell, of course. Since the day you asked me to marry you. Or rather asked that human skin I fabricated.” She traced a claw over his tattooed skin. “It takes time to make a human ready.”
“Ready?” Noah’s voice trembled. “Ready for what?”
“To wed a demon.” She smiled, her tongue licking his neck, her claws scraping across his chest. “These symbols bind you to me, bind you to Hell.” She pressed her face next to his; he felt her hot breath wash over his skin. “You are mine, Noah. Our little ritual will bring me great power, and you great pain. Welcome to married life, my love. Welcome to unholy wedded bliss!”
Noah felt something sharp stab into his abdomen, his agony ripping a shriek from his throat. He glanced down to see his wife's claws piercing his body.
"Does that hurt, husband? Too bad, for what wedding would be complete without a feast? Shall we start with your spleen?" She sliced open his stomach and extracted his organ. She took a bite and ate it slowly while he watched. "Very tasty. Perhaps the liver next?"
"Please, please, no!" He moaned, pleading for mercy.
"Shh, shh, Noah." She stroked his cheek and he shied at her touch. "Don't worry, my love. Nothing I do here will kill you. That's what the binding is for. I will eat your insides piece by piece and fill your hollow shell with Hellfire. Then you will be one of us. Won't that be fun?" With a smile, she reached back inside of his abdomen. "Yes, I definitely think the liver, next."
Noah’s unending scream echoed on the trail of her laughter.



© A. F. Stewart 2017 All Rights Reserved 



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